Many state contenders will be competing at the 10th Poland Invitational.
POLAND -- Meet director John Jeren has brought in the strongest field in the 10 years he has staged the Poland Invitational meet.
Thirty-four teams will compete in the meet Saturday at Poland High's stadium. Preliminaries will begin at 9:15 a.m. Finals are scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Last year's meet was won by Warren Harding's boys team and Poland's girls squad.
East Cleveland Shaw, which dominated both divisions of last week's Lakeview Invitational, will challenge for team honors.
Eleven sprinters, all of them potential state qualifiers, will attempt to break the meet 100-meter record of 10.8 seconds.
They are defending champion J'Abneb Provitt (10.9 this season) and his brother Beja'Lan (10.5) of Warren Harding, Eric Baltputnis (10.8) and Scott Thomas of West Branch, Mike Mazerik (10.6) of Mooney, Angelo Babbaro (10.9) of Canfield, Justin Penson (10.9) of Struthers, Ward Invitational champ Chris Hayes (10.8) of East Cleveland Shaw, Clarence Howell and Michael Gibson of Chaney and David Garcia of Campbell.
Another race with 2004 state qualifiers entered will be the 3200. Among them are Ryan Brocker (9:48.5) of Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, Dan Nemergut (9:44.9) of South Range, Andy Arnio (9:42.5) of Maplewood, Aiman Scullion (9:34.6) and Paul Shivers (9:58.5) of Salem, Rick Lape (10:08.2) and Tim Weaver (10:05) of Boardman and Jim Ramson (10:10.6) of Poland.
The throws will feature Nick Panezich (190 feet in the discus, 60-7 in the shot). In the high jump, Liberty's Donovan Fletcher (6-4), South Range's Mike Leskowsky (6-4), Salem's Tyler Pierce (6-2), Springfield's Mason McCambridge (6-2), Ursuline's Alex Allen (6-2) and Girard's Brien Golden (6-2).
Latalia Jones of Chaney is the meet's defending 100 and 200 champ. Jones has the area's best effort in the 200 (25.0).
Audra Frimpong (12.6) of Canfield, Jonise Hartsfield (12.7) and Antoinette Smith (12.8) of Chaney and Jerica Mann (12.4) of Canton GlenOak should make it a close 100 race.
The 100 and 300 hurdles have several state qualifiers, with Amber Ferraro (46.2) of Poland, Jennifer Grayson of Maplewood, Rachel Crafton of Hubbard, Carrie Zorman and Genna Higbee of Boardman, Angela Cicero of Warren JFK, Allysa Bowman of West Branch, Kelly Burke and Alex Voytek of Mooney, Tiffany Betras of Canfield, Nicole Robenolt of Struthers and Lauren Echko (14.3) of Hudson competing.
Grayson also will be favored in the high jump.
Three athletes flirting with 40 feet in the shot are Girard's Sarroya Townsend (39-1), Boardman's Brooke Katzman (38-11) and Leetonia's Malorie Valentine (38-9).